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Varying Your Retrieve for Different Water Temperatures

While this is designed for inshore saltwater fishing, the techniques discussed may prove true for various water applications. We all know that different saltwater species favor certain feeding behaviors and just like us prefer to have their food presented a certain way. Therefore, we must remember this with every cast in how we are presenting the bait to the customer and at what speed. Generally, the colder the water temperature, the slower we want to retrieve and present those baits a little softer. Conversely, the warmer the water temperature the more we can speed up that retrieve to a certain point which is focused on the feeding behavior of the targeted species.

Personally, in the winter months of Charleston, SC (January – March with water temperatures in the low 40's to mid-50's) I am casting and retrieving at snail speed with most strikes coming at a complete pause. In the spring (April-May with water temperatures in the upper 50's to upper 60's) I am varying a slow consistent retrieve with imposing some form of light action on the bait. In the summer (June-September with water temps in the 70's -90's) I am on a constant retrieve during morning and evening feeding patterns when the fish are more active and at mid-day I slow back down to the winter/spring retrieve during mid-day to combat the lethargic nature of the fish. During the fall months (Oct-Dec with water temps dropping from 90 to mid-60's) everyone is a pro and nearly all methods above work. With that being said, if you are fishing a targeted zone where you are confident fish are present and you are not getting the desired bites, reach into your Z-Man Bait BinderZ and go for a different color or profile and change your retrieve speed and vary the action until you find out what the fish want. It's all too common for anglers to be successful with a certain bait color, retrieve speed and action who fail to adapt even when the fish are not participating. Therefore, to be consistently successful you have to identify the pattern and motivate the fish to strike which is sometimes accomplished by changing tactics.

Brandon Parker

Z-Man Ambassador

Charleston SilverFox Charters

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